According to an article published by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), the Agricultural Institute of Genetics in Vietnam has concluded that biotech maize is safe for the environment, adding the biotech variety has been found to have some advantages that its conventional counterpart lacks.
Dr. Le Huy Ham, Head of the Agricultural Institute of Genetics, voiced his support for commercializing the biotech maize. “I don’t think we need to wait some more time. GMP [genetically modified plants] should be applied in Vietnam, as soon as possible,” he stated, adding that “the cultivation in the last 16 years shows that GMPs are safe to humans and biodiversity.”
Agriculture expert Professor Vo-Tong Xuan also encouraged adoption of the technology, noting that 30 countries worldwide have already successfully cultivated and benefitted from the use of biotech crops. Read more.
In this informational video, Huffington Post Science blogger Cara Santa Maria interviews Dr. Kevin Folta, a professor in the plant molecular and cellular biology program at the University of Florida, to learn more about the process of genetic modification. Dr. Folta sheds light on the science behind the cultivation of biotech crops and discusses the technology’s benefits.
“We need to be able to feed more people higher quality food with less environmental impact, and to me all of those things are in the hands of being able to rapidly generate new plant lines and new production practices, whether it’s improved organic and sustainable practices, whether it’s better conventional practices, or conventional breeding, transgenics should be part of that,” he explains. Read more.
A participant in Community Supported Agriculture has issued a spirited defense of biotechnology in crops, describing as “absurd” the anti-biotech claims made by a staff writer for a local news blog. Michael Bendzela, who points out that his sole interest is as a local farmer in Maine, cites the conclusions of ag biotech experts regarding the technology’s safety in an opinion piece published by The Portland Press Herald.
Following a review of 24 long-term studies that have appeared in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal, agricultural scientist Steve Savage points out that results from all of the studies indicate there are no health risks associated with the cultivation and consumption of genetically modified (GM) crops.
Dr. Bruce M. Chassy, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, also emphasizes that “numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles” have established that GM crops are safe for consumption. Read more.
The American Medical Association adopted a formal statement this week explicitly opposing the mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods.
The AMA also adopted a report reaffirming that there is no evidence to suggest that the genetic modification process presents any unique safety issues.
In the words of the AMA statement: “Our AMA believes that as of June 2012, there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education.”
The AMA report is consistent with the findings of a majority of respected scientists, medical professionals and health experts, including a 1987 National Academy of Sciences white paper that concluded there is no evidence that genetically modified foods pose any health risks. The AMA’s report also reaffirms the council’s policy recommendation in a December 2000 report stating “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods.”
When contemplating the role of biotechnology-derived crops today, Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, asks readers to consider the rapidly increasing world population. By 2050, she says, the world “will likely have another two billion mouths to feed and face an estimated 70% increase in global food demand.” In order to meet the needs of future generations, new agricultural technologies must be implemented. Coleman concludes that a variety of tactics should be used to boost agricultural production, adding that “we would be remiss if we do not include GM crops in the toolkit.” READ MORE »